Missouri House members discussed new security measures protecting the state Capitol in the case of violent events like the riot that occurred Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol.

“This is in recognition of the world we live in at the moment,” said Rep. Lane Roberts, R-Joplin, at a Crime Prevention Committee hearing.

Roberts has sponsored House Bill 784, which would allow armed marshals to provide security for both the House and Senate.

Among the requirements proposed for becoming an officer are five years of experience as a certified police officer. According to Roberts, it would give the House the ability to self-determine the level of security it prefers and how members want to deploy it.

At the same time, the Special Committee on Homeland Security held a meeting to discuss House Bill 785, which would establish the Capitol Police Board and release the Department of Public Safety from its duty to control the Capitol Police. The Capitol Police Board would consist of the governor, the speaker of the House, the president pro tem of the Senate and the chief justice of the Missouri Supreme Court, as well as the chair of the State Capitol Commission.

Rep. Ron Hicks, R-Dardenne Prairie, sponsored the bill and, like Roberts, first introduced the proposal Jan. 11, three business days after the riots that resulted in the storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., in a display against the 2020 presidential election result.

The proposed bills are scheduled for votes at noon Wednesday with their respective committees.

 

  • State reporter, fall 2020, studying data journalism and interested in tech and new media. Reach me at jax5c@missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

  • Mark Horvit is the state government editor. Call me at 817-726-1621 with story ideas, tips or complaints.

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